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Surprise: After 24-hour fast, food tastes exceptionally good and you want more

Scientific study finds that participants were hungrier than normal after a fast, plus food tasted better and looked more appealing.
Scientific study finds that participants were hungrier than normal after a fast, plus food tasted better and looked more appealing.
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

A study published today in the PLOS ONE scientific journal suggests that after fasting for 24 hours, people want more food than they normally would and food tastes significantly better to them.

Few people would find this shocking, especially anyone who's had to starve for long periods of time prior to blood work, surgery or a colonoscopy, or someone who's tried a diet that relies largely on liquids, such as Slimfast or Medifast.

Study authors starved a small group of people - only 15 participants - for 24 hours, allowing them only water during that time. Prior to the fasting, the participants, who were adult men and women under the age of 40, were given various foods over a period of time and asked to rate how much they liked the foods and how hungry they were at various points.

After the fast, when participants were given food to eat, they looked at pictures of various foods on a computer screen and were asked questions such as “How pleasant would you find the taste of this food right now?“ and “How much do want some of this food right now?”

In the day following the fast, participants felt 69 percent hungrier than their baseline, ate 74 percent more calories and experienced a 47 percent decrease in feelings of fullness.